The application of near infrared multiphoton excitation to the laser-scanning microscope was first conceived by Denk, Strickler and Webb in 1990. Since then, advances in design have seen the multiphoton laser scanning microscope (MPLSM) applied to a wide range of biological research areas, including skin imaging and vaccine delivery. The technique has the attributes of low phototoxicity, high-resolution functional imaging to depths in scattered tissues. These
characteristics have encouraged engineers and scientists to develop in-vivo imaging systems. For these applications, laser excitation pulses can be delivered to the sample through optical fibers. Although this solution provides a number of advantages relating to movement and flexibility of the site of interest relative to the laser source, the peak powers that can be delivered down the fiber are limited. We report on the design and commissioning of a directly coupled in-vivo MPM system, optimised for the imaging of epidermal vaccines delivered to a range of biological models and humans. Specifically, we seek to apply the system to visualise in-vivo, the influence of hand-held, helium powered needle-free systems on skin cells. A standard Nikon E600FN microscope, dissected above the optical plane was cantilevered from a vibration isolated table using rigid support arms. The modified microscope was coupled to an infrared optimised Bio-Rad Radiance 2100MP, multiphoton dedicated laser scanning control and image acquisition system. Femtosecond laser pulses were provided by a 10W Verdi pumped Mira Ti:Sapphire laser, from Coherent Inc. The microscope was modified such that the transmission half may be selectively attached for conventional imaging with ex-vivo and cell culture samples, or removed for in-vivo imaging of skin sites on the body of humans and large animals. Optical performance of the system, and aspects of its design and commissioning are discussed in this paper.